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Conference interpreter training guidelines

The conference interpreter´s training.
One of AIIC's main objectives is to foster training and research in order to enhance the professional practice of conference interpreting.
AIIC advocates a specialised training model that enables a prospective interpreter to acquire the professional skills needed to provide high-quality service and thus have a real chance of getting work.
With a view to providing encouragement and guidance to those wishing to undertake training courses in interpretation, AIIC interpreters would like to provide the following points of relevant information:
The profession
Conference interpreting is very demanding because it is carried out in widely varying situations (specialised conferences, political or trade negotiations, meetings of international institutions, and others). The responsibility for ensuring that the message gets across precisely and accurately falls upon the interpreter, whatever the subject matter and whatever the speaker’s accent or communication skills.
That is why it is important, before starting a training course, to ensure that the student has certain background knowledge and the ability to learn the techniques of simultaneous and consecutive interpretation. Students should also seek guidance on their language combination, which affects their chances of gaining access to the professional market.
A student should have:
  • A university degree.
  • A perfect command of his or her mother tongue, and of any other active language, in all registers.
  • A complete grasp of all passive languages and extensive awareness of the culture, in the widest sense, of the countries where those languages are spoken.
  • Intellectual maturity, solid general knowledge, and awareness of current affairs in all fields.
A student should also show:
  • Psychological stamina and an ability to concentrate.
  • A quick mind, analytical skills, and the ability to summarise.
  • Intellectual rigour.
  • Communication skills and a clear, pleasant voice.
  • Tact and diplomacy.
  • The ability to work effectively in a team.
Training should take place in a school which offers the following:
  • Either an entrance exam or an induction course, to check whether or not the student has the required background knowledge and potential skills.
  • Degree-level or postgraduate qualifications.
  • A minimum of 600 contact hours of training in consecutive and simultaneous interpretation techniques, in conditions as close as possible to real professional life.
  • Training in the practical aspects of the profession, as well as its code of ethics.
  • Appropriate technical facilities (properly equipped booths).
  • Course coordination and teaching provided by practising conference interpreters with international experience who are qualified as trainers and who share the students’ language combination.
Information provided by the interpreters of ESPaiic - Spanish Region of AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters) Copyright ESPaiic, 2001.
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